On the night of the last presidential election, on November 3, the Associated Press and Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden. A little over a week later, on November 12, the New York Times, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News followed suit. On November 30, Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs officially certified Biden’s win in the state, and her certification was signed by Governor Doug Ducey. On January 6, the U.S. Senate rejected a challenge to the award of Arizona’s electoral votes to Biden by a 93-6 margin, and the House rejected a parallel challenge by a 303-121 margin. On January 20, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president.
Now, in late April, Arizona’s largest county, Maricopa (where Phoenix is located), has been forced by the Republican-controlled state senate to turn over all 2020 ballots to an “independent” firm that will “audit” them to determine who “really” carried the county. Maricopa conducted hand recounts in November and authorized an audit in early December that found no irregularities. But no matter. The first Arizona Senate effort to audit Maricopa’s votes in February ended in chaos after the firm it hired turned out to be wildly partisan. The second attempt under way now is looking no better: The auditor is a firm hilariously named Cyber Ninjas, and, as the Guardian reports, it’s all a hot mess:
On a since-deleted Twitter account, Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan used hashtags and shared memes popular with people promoting unsupported allegations casting doubt on Biden’s victory. Logan says his personal views are irrelevant because he is running a transparent audit with video streamed online.
The online streaming is being provided by the famously impartial One America News Network.
Efforts by Maricopa County’s five district supervisors (four of whom are Republicans) to put a halt to this crazy train have spurred an avalanche of death threats. This is a state, after all, whose Republican Party is chaired by MAGA stalwart Kelli Ward. And from the sidelines, the audit is being hyped by the 45th president himself, who said in a statement last week:
So many people would like to thank the brave and patriotic Republican State Senators from Arizona for the incredible job they are doing in exposing the large scale Voter Fraud which took place in the 2020 Presidential Election. Their tireless efforts have led to a massive recount, ballot examination, and full forensic audit, undertaken by experts retained by the State Senate, with results to be announced within six weeks. The Democrats, upon hearing the news of the Court Order, have sent 73 lawyers to Arizona in an effort to stop this recount and full transparency because THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID! The Democrats are desperate for the FRAUD to remain concealed because, when revealed, the Great States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, and the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, would be forced to complete the work already started.
So there you have it: Once the official results in Arizona have been pretend-overturned by Cyber Ninjas, MAGA guerrilla auditors will be unleashed in other states carried by Biden, presumably until enough “revised” results have been obtained to name Trump the pretend president. If the facts don’t support these increasingly delusional claims, new “facts” will be supplied until they produce the desired result. Presumably, these fantasy-world 2020-election results will be pretend-certified before Trump decides whether or not to wage a bloody-shirt comeback effort in 2024. And in the meantime, of course, the “doubts” over “ballot security” this exercise in revisionist vote-counting will reinforce can be used to justify fresh voter-suppression efforts in Arizona and elsewhere for future elections. After all, according to a new CBS-YouGov survey, 75 percent of 2020 Trump voters already don’t believe Biden legitimately won the election. Why not keep that number as high as possible?
As Steve Benen puts it, “The new, Republican-approved version of reality will fuel conspiratorial rage for quite a while, with rank-and-file conservative voters convinced that Americans can’t settle disputes at the ballot box because those rascally Democrats have rigged the system.” Nothing we’ve seen so far, not even the Capitol riot of January 6, so perfectly illustrates the profoundly sinister nature of Trumpian disinformation.